Milby Co.’s first office.

Milby Co. was founded as a small business by William A. Milby in 1932. Today, led by Burnet Chalmers, president, and Carl Lee, vice president, it is a multi-million-dollar wholesale distributor of water system-related products. From its headquarters in Elkridge, MD, a branch office in Petersburg, VA, and 14,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space, the company serves the drilling and water conditioning industries in Maryland, Virginia and southern Pennsylvania.

Its truck fleet offers a next-day delivery schedule. Continuing education classes are offered throughout the year for employees and customers at both locations. Milby Co. has invested in state-of-the-art computer systems to enhance its customer service. Its sales and service teams help well drillers, plumbers and other water systems professionals with all aspects of water systems installation and maintenance, including solving water system and water well problems, with in-house troubleshooting expertise.

Milby Co.’s new building.

“If we have a pump down, they find a way to get it to us,” Robert Reichart of Robert Reichart Well Drilling, a Milby customer, said in a statement. “I congratulate them on all their service to us and their professionalism,” another customer, Charlie Roe of Valley Well Drilling Corp. of VA, said in a statement.

Chalmers attributes the company’s success to its customers and employees.

“After 75 years of service, we are honored to have both employees and customers that have been with us for decades,” he said.

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Economy hosted an anniversary party at its headquarters.

Economy Plumbing Supply

Indianapolis-based Economy Plumbing Supply first opened its doors in 1932 as a supplier to the local plumbing community. The company was founded by three brothers: Herbert E. Strong Sr., William Strong and Edward Strong. The Strongs were described as “wholesale pioneers, always selling to retail customers and maintenance people as well as plumbing contractors, and not always going about it in a traditional manner,” in a feature Supply House Times published in November 1995. The company survived the Great Depression and continued to grow, expanding to adjacent properties on the block and opening its first kitchen and bath showroom in 1939.

The company is now in the third generation of family ownership. The small plumbing store has evolved into a large central location and warehouse in downtown Indianapolis and a suburban showroom located near Fishers, IN.

Both locations have newly remodeled HomeStyle showrooms, featuring products from companies such as Villeroy & Boch, Dornbracht, TOTO, Hansgrohe, Link-A-Sink, Brizo, Bain Ultra and Stone Forest.

John Strong (L) with his father, Herb Strong.

In addition to the showrooms, Economy offers all types of plumbing supplies and repair parts in a counter sales area at each location. Both counter sales areas have been designed with self-service displays for a more retail atmosphere. Its self-service approach to counter sales merchandising was first introduced in 1984 and was covered by Supply House Times in its June 1985 issue.

Herbert Strong Jr., who took over as president of the company in 1960, also served as president of the American Supply Association in 1996 and then chairman in 1997. His son, John Strong, has been president of Economy Supply since 1995.

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